Acetaminophen safe in abstinent alcoholics

From Reuters:

Alcoholics undergoing rehabilitation can safely use the maximum recommended daily dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) without damaging their livers, study results suggest.

Isolated case reports have linked severe liver damage among alcoholics who abruptly stopped using alcohol and were treated with acetaminophen. Theoretically, the period of greatest risk would be right after they stopped drinking, based on various biochemical changes that take place.

“No participant suffered acetaminophen-related liver injury,” the authors report.

Dart and his team point out that their findings can not be generalized to all alcoholic patients. They did not include patients with liver disease severe enough to impair liver function, patients who continued to drink alcohol, or individuals affected by either intentional or unintentional overdoses.

They worry that if told to avoid acetaminophen, patients who drink alcohol would be likely to use aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), which are far more risky.